Saruwatari Ayumi (junglemonkee) wrote,
Saruwatari Ayumi

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Making Time

She's had a sinus infection, but she called to see how things went last Thursday and to tell me she's mailing me some paperwork. She's worried about the sinus infection. She wants to be well and healthy in August. Bernice is 87, and once she's sick, it takes some doing to get her over it.

The sinus infection caused her to cancel the last of three rotating card games she participates in daily. Yes, daily. She gets up early and meets her friends at the community center and they play bridge, canasta and a game called sixty-five. I thought that sixty-five was the minimum age to get a seat at the table, but no, it's the amount of money each player bets for the game. They play three games a night, every night. ("That's a dollar ninety-five," she told me. She's very precise about these sorts of things.)

She was worried because her travel agent said that in order to go on her trip in August, she would need all sorts of additional paperwork, since she's taking my daughter, and she needs legal proof that she's allowed to have the child out of the country.They'll be in August, because Bernice is taking her on an Alaskan cruise. The both of them are so giddy at the prospect that they can hardly speak.

Peaches' dad is all in a fury over the trip. It was a point of contention at the hearing last Thursday - the fact that she's going on this trip without his written permission, which for some reason he thinks that I'm responsible for obtaining, rather than his grandmother. He's upset that she came to me in the first place, although she did it because she wanted to make sure that she wasn't taking visitation time away from him, since he sees her little enough. She's worried about this because Bernice is Peaches father's grandmother. She's no relation to me, although she calls me frequently and is as loving toward me as she's ever been.

Here's the thing. My mother's mom died in 1998. She was 92 and had had Alzheimer's, so it was slow going. She was the one who had taught me how to write my name and how to spell the names of practically everything in her house because I pestered her about it. My father's mother died in 2002. She was an amazing cook who measured the flour for tortillas by the plateful, rather than any standard measure I would know. I don't have any grandparents left at all. I think about the things that I used to do with my grandparents, and how they showed me they loved me. I never saw much of the great-grandparents I had because they lived and died far away from me, but I knew that they lived into their ancientness.

My kid has the chance to spend a little time with her great-grandmother. Does it matter that I don't get on with her father? Does it matter that her father wants to punish me by making her trip as difficult for me as possible? Does it matter that her father and I just spent all day Thursday in a courtroom where I made him sorry that he tried to cheat me? Those things matter to me, and I, as a grownup, get to deal with them. But here's the thing: they're really none of my kid's business. My kid doesn't need to know the intimate details of my adult life, to include my private opinion of her father. She shouldn't have to carry that burden (and believe me, it's a huge burden to know that your parents hate each other). And whom am I punishing if I don't let her see her grandparents? Nobody that merits punishment.

And on the plus side, Peaches gets a whole bunch of great memories of special time with her great-grandmother, and when Bernice dies, Peaches won't bemoan the fact that she never spent time with her. Bernice gets to spend time with her (admitted) favorite great-grandchild. I get a week where my surly twelve-year-old is off being cheerful and charming and helpful in a way that she isn't at home, and having a blast at the same time. Nobody loses. Everybody wins. How is that bad?

I just can't see ever cutting a child's relatives, even the ones you hate, out of their lives. That sort of thing just comes back and bites you. Just bites you.

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